Publisher: Random House Canada

#BookReview The Cure for Drowning by Loghan Paylor @PenguinRandomCA #LoghanPaylor #TheCureForDrowning #PenguinReads

#BookReview The Cure for Drowning by Loghan Paylor @PenguinRandomCA #LoghanPaylor #TheCureForDrowning #PenguinReads Title: The Cure for Drowning

Author: Loghan Paylor

Published by: Random House Canada on Jan. 30, 2024

Genres: Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 400

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Evocative, magical and luminously written, The Cure for Drowning is not only a brilliant, boundary-pushing love story but a Canadian historical novel that boldly centres queer and non-binary characters in unprecedented ways.

Born Kathleen to an immigrant Irish farming family in southern Ontario, Kit McNair has been a troublesome changeling since, at ten, they fell through the river ice and drowned—only to be nursed back to life by their mother’s Celtic magic. A daredevil in boy’s clothes, Kit chafes at every aspect of a farmgirl’s life, driving that same mother to distraction with worry about where Kit will ever fit in. When Rebekah Kromer, an elegant German-Canadian doctor’s daughter, moves to town with her parents in April 1939, Rebekah has no doubt as to who 19-year-old Kit is. Soon she and Kit, and Kit’s older brother, Landon, are drawn tight in a love triangle that will tear them and their families apart, and send each of them off on a separate path to war. 

Landon signs up for the Navy. Kit, now known as Christopher, joins the Royal Air Force, becoming a bomber navigator relied on for his luck and courage. Rebekah serves with naval intelligence in Halifax, until one more collision with Landon changes the course of her life and draws her back to the McNair farm—a place where she’d once known love. Fallen on even harder times, the McNairs welcome all the help she is able to give, and she believes she has found peace at last. Until, with the war over, Kit and Landon return home.

Told in the vivid, unforgettable voices of Kit and Rebekah, The Cure for Drowning is a powerfully engrossing novel that imagines a history that is truer than true.


Review:

Tempestuous, tender, and immersive!

The Cure for Drowning is a fresh, absorbing tale set in Southern Ontario during the early 1940s that takes us into the lives of three main characters. Kit, a young adventurous spirit who finds the love of their life in the daughter of the new local doctor; Landon, Kit’s older brother who is confident and charming and someone who follows his head more than his heart; and Rebekah, a young woman who feels torn between what society deems is appropriate and the feelings she has for both of the McNair siblings.

The writing is passionate and moving. The characters are hopeful, hesitant, and endearing. And the plot is an engaging, touching tale about life, loss, friendship, family, hope, heartbreak, tragedy, destiny, sexual identity, gender fluidity, fate, war, and enduring love.

Overall, The Cure for Drowning is a captivating, well-written, richly described debut by Paylor that highlights that love comes in many forms and is a beautiful reminder that to love and be loved is one of humanity’s most fundamental needs that transcends gender, sex, race, religion, and socioeconomics.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

      

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Loghan Paylor

LOGHAN PAYLOR is a queer, trans author who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Their short fiction and essays have previously appeared in Room and Prairie Fire, among others. Paylor has a Master's in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and a day job as a professional geek. The Cure for Drowning is their first novel.

Photo by Michael Paylor.

#BookReview Free Love by Tessa Hadley @randomhouseca #FreeLove #TessaHadley #RandomHouseCanada

#BookReview Free Love by Tessa Hadley @randomhouseca #FreeLove #TessaHadley #RandomHouseCanada Title: Free Love

Author: Tessa Hadley

Published by: Random House Canada on Feb. 1, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 328

Format: Paperback

Source: Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

A compulsive new novel about one woman’s sexual and intellectual awakening in 1960s London.

1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their children are Colette, a bookish teenager, and Hugh, the golden boy.

But when the twenty-something son of an old friend pays the Fischers a visit one hot summer evening, and kisses Phyllis in the dark garden after dinner, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations of her as a wife and a mother. Nothing in these ordinary lives is so ordinary after all, it turns out, as the family’s upheaval mirrors the dramatic transformation of the society around them.

With scalpel-sharp insight, Tessa Hadley explores her characters’ inner worlds, laying bare their fears and longings. Daring and sensual, Free Love is an enthralling, irresistible exploration of romantic love, sexual freedom and living out the truest and most meaningful version of our lives.


Review:

Sophisticated, astute, and passionate!

Free Love is an intimate, sentimental tale that sweeps you away to London in the late 1960s and into the life of Phyllis Fischer, a middle-aged married mother of two who, after feeling mostly content as a housewife for years, suddenly has a reawakening when she embarks on a love affair with Nicholas, the twenty-something-year-old son of family friends.

The prose is lyrical and descriptive. The characters are authentic, honest, and multi-layered. And the plot sweeps you away into a compelling, greek tragedy-like saga about motherhood, independence, responsibility, age disparity, adultery, seduction, desire, secrets, freedom, independence, compromise, and love.

Overall, Free Love is an atmospheric, pensive, provocative tale by Hadley that does a wonderful job of highlighting all the challenges and changes women experienced both personally and professionally during that time, and although I don’t think it will be everybody’s cup of tea, it is abundantly clear from the outset that Hadley is an exquisite literary writer with an uncanny ability to lay bare the lengths and sacrifices humanity will go to all for the sake of love.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Tessa Hadley

TESSA HADLEY is the author of seven highly praised novels, Accidents in the Home, which was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, Everything Will Be All Right, The Master Bedroom, The London Train, Clever Girl, The Past and Late in the Day, and three collections of stories, Sunstroke, Married Love and Bad Dreams. The Past won the Hawthornden Prize for 2016, and Bad Dreams won the 2018 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. She lives in London and is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her stories appear regularly in the New Yorker and other magazines.

Photo by Mark Vessey.

#BookReview Hello I Want to Die by Anna Mehler Paperny @amp6 @PenguinRandomCA

#BookReview Hello I Want to Die by Anna Mehler Paperny @amp6 @PenguinRandomCA Title: Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me

Author: Anna Mehler Paperny

Published by: Random House Canada on Aug. 6, 2019

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Penguin Random House Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

A vibrant, compelling memoir from a remarkable young woman that bravely reveals the real-life havoc wrought by depression and the urgent search for solutions. Illuminating, completely engaging–it’s essential reading for all since we all know someone whose life, family or friends are touched by the disease that directly afflicts a fifth of Canadians.

In her early twenties, while outwardly thriving in her dream job and enjoying warm familial support and a strong social network, award-winning journalist Anna Mehler Paperny found herself trapped by feelings of failure and despair. Her first suicide attempt–ingesting a deadly mix of sleeping pills and antifreeze–landed her in the ICU, followed by weeks of enforced detention that ran the gamut of horrifying, boring, hilarious, and absurd. This was Anna’s entry into the labyrinthine psychiatric care system responsible for providing care to millions of Canadians.

As she struggled to survive the psych ward and as an outpatient–enduring the “survivor’s” shame of facing concerned family, friends, and co-workers; finding (or not) the right therapist, the right meds; staying healthy, insured, and employed–Anna could not help but turn her demanding journalist’s eye on her condition and on the system in which she found herself. She set off on a quest to “know her enemy,” interviewing leading practitioners in the field across Canada and the US–from psychiatrists to neurological experts, brain-mapping pioneers to heroic family practitioners, and others dabbling in novel hypotheses. She reveals in courageously frank detail her own experiences with the pharmacological pitfalls and side effects of long-term treatment, and offers moving case studies of conversations with others, opening wide a window into how we treat (and fail to treat) the disease that accounts for more years swallowed up by disability than any other in the world.


Review:

Informative, honest, and perceptive!

Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me is the first-hand, candid story of Anna Mehler Paperny’s personal, ongoing struggle with suicidal ideation and depression, as well as an in-depth look into the mental health care industry and the limitations, resources, misunderstandings, and treatments that surround it.

The writing is clear, moving, and educative. And the novel is an exceptionally researched, impassioned tale of one woman’s battle to maintain life while her brain consistently tells her to end it.

Hello I Want to Die Please Fix Me is, ultimately, part memoir, part investigation that includes statistical data and interviews with Canadian and North American health care professionals that is a valuable, emotive resource for anyone, anywhere who suffers from, works with, or is affected in any way by this disease that wreaks havoc on over 300 million lives worldwide.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                  

 

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Anna Mehler Paperny

ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY is an award-winning reporter for Reuters based in Toronto. Over a decade she's chased down stories ranging from the opioid crisis to migration, from post-quake Haiti to Guantanamo Bay. She's written for the Kingston Whig-Standard, the Edmonton Journal, the San Francisco Chronicle, Maclean's Magazine; as a staff reporter at The Globe and Mail; and a reporter-editor for Global News, where she developed globalnews.ca's award-winning Investigative Data Desk. Her work on deaths in Canadian prisons won an investigative journalism award. At Queen's University, she spent most of her time working on the campus newspaper.

Photograph courtesy of Goodreads Author Page.

#BookReview The Thirst by Jo Nesbo @RealMrJoNesbo ‏@RandomHouseCA

#BookReview The Thirst by Jo Nesbo @RealMrJoNesbo ‏@RandomHouseCA Title: The Thirst

Author: Jo Nesbo

Series: Harry Hole #11

Published by: Random House Canada on May 4, 2017

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 352

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Penguin Random House Canada, NetGalley

Book Rating: 10/10

THERE’S A NEW KILLER ON THE STREETS…
A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police that they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer.

HE’S IN YOUR HOUSE… HE’S IN YOUR ROOM
Under pressure from the media to find the murderer, the force know there’s only one man for the job. But Harry Hole is reluctant to return to the place that almost took everything from him. Until he starts to suspect a connection between this killing and his one failed case.

HE’S OUT FOR BLOOD
When another victim is found, Harry realises he will need to put everything on the line if he’s to finally catch the one who got away.


Review:

Welcome back Harry Hole!

This a brilliantly crafted, dark, gritty thriller that takes us on a hunt for a sadistic serial killer with a taste for blood and causes Harry to come face-to-face with some of the demons that haunt him.

The writing is seamless, precise and vivid.  The characterization is spot on with characters that are driven, selfish and flawed, including the tough and tenacious Harry Hole whose greatest struggles persistently involve his own addictions and obsessions. And the plot is a twisty, violent, tension-filled thrill ride that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning and will definitely leave you speechless by the end.

Once again Nesbo has proven that when it comes to writing clever, gripping, fast-paced police procedurals with exquisite character development and spine-chilling storylines he’s one of the best.

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbø is a bestselling Norwegian author and musician. He was born in Oslo and grew up in Molde. Nesbø graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics with a degree in economics. Nesbø is primarily famous for his crime novels about Detective Harry Hole, but he is also the main vocals and songwriter for the Norwegian rock band Di Derre. In 2007 Nesbø also released his first children's book, Doktor Proktors Prompepulver.